On Tuesday, federal judge James E. Boasberg ruled that the Federal Trade Commission’s effort to break up Facebook could move forward. The case itself is far from decided. But by blessing the FTC’s theory that a monopoly can harm consumers even when its product is free, the judge has signaled that Facebook—and other tech platforms—are not invincible.
It’s a big turnaround from last summer. In June, Boasberg, a judge on the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, granted Facebook’s motion to dismiss the case. (The company has since rebranded itself as Meta Platforms, but Facebook remains the named defendant.) The problem, he held, was that the FTC—which
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